Dawgs Looking for More Pressure
Jeff Owens

Posted Sep 24, 2009

ATHENS – While the secondary has gotten the majority of the blame for Georgia’s defensive problems the past two weeks, defensive tackle Jeff Owens said his unit will be the key to shutting down the opposition’s passing attack.

“It starts with getting more sacks up front,” Owens said. ‘I think we’re nowhere near where we can be, and we need to get over that hump to get where we can be. But we’re going to keep progressing and just get better because we’re not where we want to be right now.”

Through three games, Georgia has recorded just four sacks, despite opponents throwing the ball or using the quarterback as a runner on more than 70 percent of their offensive plays the past two weeks.

Georgia finished last season ranked 11th in the SEC in sacks, with the bulk of its success coming in non-conference games against Arizona State and Michigan State. The Bulldogs worked on the pass rush this offseason, but so far the results haven’t shown up on the field.

“It gets frustrating after all the effort and time you put into it during the offseason, you think you’re going to come out and have a better season than last year,” defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said. “But it’s still early on. It gets frustrating, but we just have to keep grinding and try to go make a play.”

Part of the problem, Dobbs said, is that the group hasn’t been able to function at full capacity often this season.

Starting defensive end Justin Houston missed the first two games of the season with a suspension, and Owens and fellow defensive tackle Geno Atkins were forced to rush off the edge for nearly 60 snaps during the first two weeks.

Dobbs said the group showed some signs of improvement last week – sacking quarterback Ryan Mallett twice – but that more time together will be a key in getting the pass rush going on a consistent basis.

“We have to be able to mesh as a group,” Dobbs said. “Sometimes we’re getting pressure from the edge and people aren’t in the middle and we lose contain. But it takes chemistry, and you have to know the other person’s strength and when to cover somebody. It will come in time.”

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